House being built

Proposals to help people build their own homes welcomed

Proposals to help more people build their own homes have been ‘warmly welcomed’ by the Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, and the National Custom and Self-Build Association (NaCSBA).

Richard Bacon MP’s review of custom and self-build, commissioned by the Prime Minister, finds huge potential in the sector, which could deliver 30,000-40,000 more homes every year, and recommends a major scaling up of self-built homes to boost the overall housing supply.

This will see homes that can be built in weeks that are better designed, built to the highest environmental standards and with cheaper household bills.

The report was commissioned to improve the housebuilding industry by giving customers more choice and to make home building a mainstream, realistic and affordable option for people across the country.

The government has committed £150m for the Help to Build scheme, which will allow homebuilders to borrow money with lower deposits.

As well as this, the government is also providing funding for local councils to create high-quality serviced plots that are ready to go, stepping up self and custom build housing projects across the UK.

Commenting, Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick said:

“As we build back better, we want to help more people build their own home, making it an option for thousands who’ve not considered it or ruled it out before.

“This will help get more people on to the housing ladder, ensure homes suit people’s needs, whilst providing an important boost to small builders and businesses too.

“I warmly welcome Richard Bacon’s report, which matches our ambitions for the custom and self-build sector. We will consider it fully and respond to the recommendations in due course.

“The launch of the Help to Build equity loan scheme will be a gamechanger to the self and custom build market and will allow individuals to borrow with lower deposit mortgages, which will go towards the design and build of their new home.

The Bacon Review puts forward six recommendations:

  • A greater role for Homes England - with the creation of a new Custom and Self Build Housing Delivery Unit supporting the creation of serviced plots on small and large sites and delivery at scale.
  • Raise awareness and show by ‘doing’ - including with a custom and self-build ‘Show Park’ and a more robust approach to legislation.
  • Support community, diversity and levelling up - by reigniting the Community Housing Fund and creating more opportunities for communities to build.
  • Promote greener homes and increased use of modern methods of manufacturing (MMC) - custom and self-build is a leading innovator in these areas and could be used to signpost the future for government’s MMC and net zero housing ambitions.
  • Align custom and self-build changes with planning reforms - in particular through maximising opportunities for permissioned land for custom and self-build, across all tenures.
  • Iron out tax issues - to create a level playing field between this type of homes and speculatively built homes.

Richard Bacon added:

“We need to build more and better new homes. Custom and self-build can help achieve this, by putting customers and their choices back at the heart of the process.

“When customers come first, we will see more homes built that are better designed, better built, greener and which cost less to run, and which are warmly welcomed by their communities.

“This review sets out a route map for how we can achieve this much needed change.”

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) will publish more detail on Help to Build shortly, followed by its official response to the Bacon Review in the autumn.

This will include reviewing options on how best to support custom and self-build (CSB) housebuilding.

The government’s reforms to the planning system will help support the CSB industry by streamlining and modernising the planning process, bringing a new focus to design and sustainability, as well as ensuring more land is available for development where it is needed.

Commenting, CEO of the National Custom and Self-Build Association, Andrew Baddeley-Chappell said:

“There is clearly something wrong with any market where customer choice is so notably absent, in particularly where such choice so demonstrably leads to better and greener homes.

“At the heart of the challenge is a planning system that appears hardwired to produce a product that most of us do not want, which fails to reflect the diversity of our communities.

“Yet there is a proven viable solution. One that works everywhere else in the world, the question is not whether change is needed, but how that change happens.

“To make that change, we must ensure that sufficient land comes forward on which people can choose the home they want to live in.

“We must also open the eyes of the public to the possibilities that are out there. Both these aspects require the leadership of government to address the failures in our current market. 

“The recommendations in this report, which include the review of the Right to Build and the rapid launch of Help to Build, have the capacity to positively transform our country’s relationship with the new homes market.”

PSE will be hosting a Public Sector Decarbonisation event on 9 September. Join us for the full day event by registering here.

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